Irving Park Road over the N. Branch Chicago River


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Owner: Chicago Department of Transportation

Description: UNIQUENESS AND/OR INNOVATIVE APPLICATIONS OF NEW OR EXITING TECHNOLOGIES - What make this project stand out when compared to other projects is the construction of the shared use path which is attached to the face of the west abutment. This shared use path provides bikers, runners, and the casual walker access to multiple parks without having to cross the busy Irving Park Road with and average daily traffic count of 34,500 vehicles. FUTURE VALUE TO THE ENGINEERING PROFESSION AND ENHANCED PUBLIC AWARENESS/ENTHUSIAM OF THE ROLE OF ENGINEERING – The value to the engineering profession that this project offers relates to the supports for the shared use path. The shared use path is supported by cantilever overhang brackets that are 14 feet in length and is attached to the face of the west abutment. Although most who use the shared use path will not notice the cantilevered overhang brackets, those involved in the project recognize the out-of-the-box thinking that was utilized in the design, as well as the construction, of the cantilevered overhang brackets. The concept of attaching a shared use path to a bridge abutment could revolutionize the way future pedestrian paths are envisioned and could result in new pedestrian paths being constructed at locations where crossing a busy street has been detrimental. The possibility of providing the safe, and uninterrupted, crossing of pedestrian paths at busy intersection will promote the public to request new pedestrian paths to be constructed at locations where they were once thought to be impractical. SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT CONSIDERATIONS – The public is becoming more aware of the importance of exercise and being outdoors. Many can be turned off by the idea of walking or biking to nearby parks due to the dangers of crossing busy roadways, or by the hassle of finding a parking spot if they choose to drive. As more of the public becomes aware that this projects shared use path provides and uninterrupted crossing of Irving Park Road, those who were intimidated before will venture down the new path and enjoy the amenities that the other nearby parks have to offer. COMPLEXITY – At first glance, this project appeared to be a straight forward bridge reconstruction. But once construction started, the challenging issues were found. The proposed water main had to be realigned due to conflicts with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agencies separation requirements between the existing storm sewer and the proposed water main. This realignment required the relocation and removal of numerous electrical vaults and relocation of proposed underground conduit routes, and the location and installation of two new water supply services on an existing water main network that did not have accurate record drawings. Another complex issue dealt with the reconstruction of a 72” storm sewer that protrudes through the west abutment. There was an unknown existing three-foot elevation difference of the storm sewer that was encountered after the removal of the existing bridge abutment. This required the fast-tracked design and fabrication of a junction chamber to be installed behind the abutment to accommodate the change in elevation between the existing and proposed storm sewer pipes. Other complex issues were the proper containment and disposal of hazardous materials. Asbestos insulation, contaminated groundwater, and unforeseen buried oil drums all had to be removed from the site according to the strict guidelines set by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. SUCCESSFUL FULFILLMENT OF CLIENT/OWNER NEEDS – Completing the reconstruction of the Irving Park Road Bridge over the North Branch of the Chicago River would have been successful fulfillment of the client and the owner’s needs. OMEGA not only worked to successfully reconstruct the bridge, but OMEGA also played the key role in resolving the projects complex unknown conflicts proving OMEGA went beyond the clients expectations. OMEGA collaborated with Chicago’s Department of Water Management to resolve the realignment of the water main and coordinated with utility companies, and adjacent water main projects to provide a trouble free connection of the different projects. OMEGA also communicated the design of the junction chamber with the sewer department to assure the proper design criteria was met. All of this was achieved while maintaining constant contact with the client, the Chicago Department of Transportation, of the different options to resolve the conflicts as well as the costs associated with the revisions. Although these conflicts resulted in time extensions, the project was completed within the client’s time schedule. Coordination with the local stakeholders was also a priority to keep the public informed with the progress of the bridge reconstruction.

Chicago Department of Transportation